Trade Deadline: A Magical Time to Make a Deal in Orlando

Nino CollaSenior Writer IFebruary 21, 2008

Some NBA teams are making deals to make a championship run, like Phoenix and Dallas.

Others, like the Lakers, are doing it just because it makes sense. Pau Gasol got traded for what again?

Yeah, how about that for an impromptu NBA Finals run?

There are teams that aren't making deals because, well they aren't stupid enough to play into Isiah Thomas' brilliance.

Didn't Zach Randolph just go to New York? Yeah—avoid that at all costs, Denver.

Then there is the team that isn't dealing, despite the fact that it makes perfect sense for them to.

Orlando is on the brink of competing for the Eastern Conference crown according to many of the experts.

Rashard Lewis was brought in during the off-season, thanks to a trade a few years ago that sent Steve Francis packing and the recently expired contract of Grant Hill.

Dwight Howard is locked up for just as long as Lewis is and Jameer Nelson just signed an extension before the year started.

Those three take up a significant amount of salary space not just this year, but for the next five. It practically handcuffs the Magic from making any significant signings for a long time.

It also means that if they want to sign any decent player to actually be an asset, it's going to take the mid-level exception, which is more trouble than it's worth.

Orlando has several expiring contracts that will come off the books. So instead of going out and getting a piece by using those contracts, they are going to let them walk.

Carlos Arroyo, Pat Garrity, James Augustine, Maurice Evans, and Keyon Dooling are all set to come off the books next year.

Garrity and Arroyo are the big chips. They make the most and some teams actually would like Arroyo.

Not only that it's not about talent. A team like Seattle would take on these players because they want cap relief.

Why isn't Andre Miller, who can be had for a combo of Arroyo, Garrity, and a throw in like Augustine, on his way to Orlando? You are getting rid of dead weight in Garrity, replacing Arroyo and if there is still a log jam, use Dooling as a centerpiece to bring in a forward that the Magic so desperately need.

Throw in a first round draft pick jut go give the Sixers incentive to take the deal.

Orlando has been involved in several rumors the past few weeks. Many of them including: Brad Miller and Francisco Garcia, Kurt Thomas—who ended up as a Sun—Chris Wilcox and Luke Ridnour, and a deal possibly involving Udonis Halsem and J.J. Redick.

So the question is this, Otis Smith:

Why has Orlando handcuffed its future dealings by not getting rid of a few of these contracts? This team is strapped down for the next few years, and most of the big chips out there have contracts that basically end in two years anyway.

All these contracts are coming off the books, with that all those players are going to have to be let go or brought back.

Truth is none of them are really contributing now, so what cap space do you have to replace them?

A team that has too many guards, and not enough forwards who can bully people down the post had the perfect chance to put themselves in position to contend for the Eastern Conference crown this year.

But they blew it, and they have possibly ruined their chances in the long run as well.